Dutch and go

Netherlands lawyers give new businesses a boost

This is a difficult time to start a business, but over in the Netherlands one firm is doing its bit for entrepreneurs.

Dutch firm Houthoff Buruma has launched what it is calling the HB Incubator Programme; a kind of legal Dragons’ Den designed to give associates a development opportunity and small businesses the sort of leg-up that is needed right now.

Four associates – Maarten Blom, Mirjam Lems, Martijn van der Vliet, and Franciska Voorberg – have been selected to run the incubator. The quartet get to select start-ups they want to support, choosing according to criteria including commercial viability, innovation and potential contribution to the economy. There will be a particular focus on production and manufacturing outfits.

The team will provide legal advice to the start-ups at a greatly reduced rate, focusing on the structure of the company, tax and IP – but not litigation.

The idea is that although rates are significantly reduced, the entrepreneur will still get a bill so they realise how much legal work is involved in running a company. At the same time, both company and associates get the chance to learn about the issues involved in starting a business.

It’s a zeitgeisty idea. Not only should it provide hands-on experience to the associates – better than any training course – but if they prove savvy at picking the right businesses Houthoff could end up with longstanding and loyal clients for the future.